Manitoba Nature's Journal

June 23, 2021

Seen Flowering in June: Yellow Ladyslippers, Canada Anemone and Northern Bedstraw

One often sees other organisms when photographing up close and personal with big showy flowers like these. The Observation Field 'Plant that the organism was found on' will give you a lookup to add the name of the plant when you add the observation of your plant photo-bomber...

Yellow Ladyslipper Cypripedium calceolus

where to find them...
"dry to moist open ground, thickets and woods in the southern two thirds of the province" 1
"moist woods, boreal forest" 2
"edges or open spaces in aspen poplar woods or upper margins of sloughs and ditches on roads and railway grades" 3

pollinated by smaller species of bees;

other organisms seen on this flower...

Canada Anemone (Meadow Anemone) Anemoneastrum canadense

previously known as Anemone canadense

where to find them...
"woods, thickets, meadows, shores and clearings throughout the southern three quarters of the province" 1
"One of the commonest anemones; found in large patches at the edges of woodlands, low moist places and hollows." 2
"Common. Habitat includes moist grassy areas, scrubby areas, edges of aspen poplar groves, particularly in parkland-prairie, but the plant is distrbuted throughout the area in suitable locations" 3

other organisms seen on this flower...

Northern Bedstraw Galium boreale

previously known as Galium septentrionale

where to find them...
"thickets, rock outcrops, prairie, shores and clearings throughout the province except for the extreme north" 1
"Common; in openings in woodlands, along roadsides and moister places on prairies...In some years, almost the dominant roadside flower." 2
"Habitat includes the aspen poplar groves and associated scrub of the parkland region to where parkland and forest meet" 3

The bedstraws are one of the larval food plants of the Bedstraw moth. These caterpillars also are willing to eat Fireweed and Evening primroses.

other organisms seen on this flower...


  1. Scoggan, H.J., Flora of Manitoba, 1957 Ottawa
  2. Budd, A.C., Budd's Flora of the Canadian Prairie Provinces
  3. Vance, F.R., Jowsey, J.R. and McLean, J.S, Wildflowers Across the Prairies

Posted on June 23, 2021 01:41 by marykrieger marykrieger | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 20, 2021

Observers need Identifiers - Identifiers need Observers

No observations - nothing to identify - that is easy to see - but also as important - no identifications, no connection to human knowledge--for that is the real purpose of naming something. If you know its name, you can find out what else is known about it.

Frustrating an observer's itch to know more can be a barrier, especially for new observers. Recent events aside, it has been easy to believe that the human knowledge has a pretty good handle on what is going on here on our planet. Sure in the tropics there might be some gaps - there are a lot of weird beetles there after all but here in Manitoba, we pretty much know everything there is to know, right? So it can be a little surprising for an observer to hear from an identifier that the problem is not the lack of focus in their image - or the need for some feature not visible in the observation - but that no one knows the species name of that one because we haven't gotten around to figuring it out yet.

Similar frustration awaits new identifiers used to identifying specimens separated in time and space from the moment of observation. Many keys are tailored towards identifying collected specimens using characters that do not change when an organism has been preserved. Some characters easily visible in a inert specimen in the hand can be impossible to discern in the field. It can also be a little disconcerting for an acknowledged expert to be challenged to explain their id when they may have been more used to a more deferential approach.

Both of these frustrations have a common root - observers and identifiers are exploring together the new opportunities that this tool offers to explore our understanding of nature. Already the identifier community is developing additional identification tools that depend on features visible in photographs of an organism. Observers are finding ways to improve their documentation of organisms that are novel to them based on the needs of identifiers. As observations are continuing to be added, the likelihood grows that someone somewhere will have added an observation of the organism that you can look at and compare with your own experience.

Happy exploring!
Mary Krieger
St Andrews, MB

Posted on June 20, 2021 15:32 by marykrieger marykrieger | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 10, 2021

Welcome to Manitoba Nature!

iNaturalist is being used by a growing number of Manitobans to connect with the natural world surrounding them - we can see this in the steady increase in observers and observations over the past few years. Just a few weeks ago we crossed that significant milestone of 100,000 observations The first City Nature Challenge in the Winnipeg region was part of that effort bringing in almost 2,500 observations in just 4 days.

One of the things that stand out the strongest for me after my 5 years using this platform is the way that it enables local experts to make substantial contributions. It connects what we each know about what we observe with all our knowledge about everything alive and that is kind of huge. This project is a way for me to support you all in learning more about nature in Manitoba by sharing what I know, what resources I have on my bookshelf and can find on the internet as well as help you to connect with each other. And I will be happy to share that role with any of you that would also like to offer your expertise.

Over on, it was noted that the whole extended iNaturalist global community has now managed to upload at least one Research Grade observation of one sixth of all named species It also sets out the following ideas to further support building the data set:

  • Grow the number of observers overall, especially in remote areas
  • Grow the number of observers of rare species
  • Grow the number of specialist identifiers

Those ideas sound pretty doable to me - lets take a run at them together. The first challenge is to make this project a clearing house for knowledge about nature in Manitoba and those individuals and organizations that are involved in studying it. I will write journal posts on a regular basis - topic suggestions are always welcome - and invite people to join this project.

Looking forward to seeing what our collaboration will come up with.

Mary Krieger
St Andrews, Manitoba

Posted on June 10, 2021 16:42 by marykrieger marykrieger | 0 comments | Leave a comment